Heinrich Heine’s poems “Adam The First” and “Miserere” (excerpts) together with the painting “Adam & Eve” by Lucas Cranach

Lucas Cranach, "Adam & Eve" (1472-1553)

 ADAM THE FIRST
by Heinrich Heine

You sent me, with flaming sword,
your guard from the heavenly city,
and chased me out of Paradise
neither with right nor pity.

I’ll take my wife and we’ll move on,
to other lands be ranging;
but that I ate from the wisdom tree
is now beyond your changing.

You cannot change my knowing of
your pettiness and blunders,
no matter how you try to bluff
us men by death and thunders.

O God! How pitiful is this
decision of ejection!
How worthy of heaven’s governor!
How brilliant his perfection!

Your Garden of Eden, your Paradise,
I’ll never miss a minute;
that was no real paradise,
with a tree forbidden in it.

I ask full freedom as my right,
for freedom’s banner has risen!
The slightest limitation would turn
your Eden to hell and to prison.

* * * * *

MISERERE

Oh, forget those holy fables,
sanctimonious allegories –
try to answer those damned questions
without telling silly stories.

Why must just men bear the crosses,
stumbling wretchedly and bleeding,
while the bad man, high on horseback,
is victoriously succeeding?

Why so? Could the reason be that
God Almighty has restrictions?
Or that He Himself does mischief?
Ah, what sordid contradictions!

These are our eternal questions
till they stuff, when we lie pallid,
earth clods down our mouths by handfuls –
do you think such answer valid?

* * * * *

I am not lured by Eden’s fields,
the promised land in Paradise.
No fairer women there than those
on whom on earth I laid my eyes.

No angel with the finest wings
could substitute there for my wife.
Sitting on clouds and singing psalms
is not my dream of afterlife…”

HEINEHEINRICH HEINE
(13 December 1797 – 17 February 1856)

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